Rare Rheumatology News

Disease Profile


Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Chilblains; Idiopathic perniosis; Cold-induced painful or pruritic erythematous or violaceous acral papular or nodular lesions;


Perniosis are itchy and/or tender red or purple bumps that occur as a reaction to cold. In severe cases, blistering, pustules, scabs and ulceration may also develop. Occasionally, the lesions may be ring-shaped. They may become thickened and persist for months. Perniosis is a form of vasculitis. Signs and symptoms occur hours after cold exposure. Risk factors for perniosis include having poor blood circulation (such as due to diabetes or smoking), a family history of perniosis, poor nutrition, and low body weight. Perniosis may occur alone or in association with an autoimmune condition (e.g., lupus, scleroderma), bone marrow disorder, or cancer. Treatment aims to relieve symptoms and prevent infection. Lifestyle/adaptive changes may also be recommended to prevent future symptoms.[1]


Perniosis is thought to be caused by an abnormal response of the blood vessels to cold temperatures.[2] In some instances, perniosis can occur in an individual for a long time and/or may be recurring. In these cases, the condition could be related to an underlying disease including:[2][3]


The main method of treatment for perniosis focuses on avoiding exposure to cold. Individuals with this condition may be advised to keep the affected areas of their body warm by wearing insulated clothing, gloves, and footwear. The use of ultraviolet light at the beginning of cold, damp season may help prevent outbreaks. It is also suggested that people with this condition do not use cigarettes or nicotine. The use of certain medications, such as topical steroids and nifedipine, a calcium channel blocker, have been effective in treating some individuals.[2][3]


Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

Organizations Supporting this Disease

    Learn more

    These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

    Where to Start

    • DermNet NZ is an online resource about skin diseases developed by the New Zealand Dermatological Society Incorporated. DermNet NZ provides information about this condition.
    • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has a report for patients and families about this condition. NORD is a patient advocacy organization for individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.

      In-Depth Information

      • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
      • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
      • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Perniosis. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.


        1. Chilblains. DermNet NZ. https://dermnetnz.org/reactions/chilblains.html. Accessed 1/20/2015.
        2. Maroon MS. Pernio. Medscape. May 7, 2017; https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1087946.
        3. Kroshinsky D. Pernio (chilblains). UpToDate. August 16, 2016; https://www.uptodate.com/contents/pernio-chilblains.

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